When It’s Time to Say Goodbye

Sad Couple Holding HandsLosing a loved one in death is one of life’s most difficult experiences. It’s something each one of us either already has or someday will go through. Knowing it will happen does not make it any less painful.

Certain deaths make the news, such as those who died in the Boston bomb blasts or the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion just recently. Or country singer George Jones who died last Friday in a hospital in Nashville, TN.

But most deaths never make network news. It’s your mother or father, your husband or wife, your brother or sister, your child, your best friend who leaves this life. And you are left with the very personal loss of someone you cared about, someone who can never be replaced.

The journey of grief is just that – a journey. The feelings can seem overwhelming. The world seems to stop. It’s hard to understand why everyone else seems to be going on with their lives while yours will never be the same. A part of you is gone – gone forever.

Grief is one of the most personal experiences any one of us can go through, and yet it is also one of the most universal. It makes no difference whether your loved one was old or young, whether your relationship with them was happy or troubled, or whether their death was expected or unexpected – the loss just hurts.

I wish I could reach out and put my arm around your shoulder if you are experiencing grief right now. Your grief is a measure of how important your loved one was to you, and of your love. There is no one right way to grieve, and no one can tell you how fast you should “get over it.” The memory of your loved one remains in your heart always – and that is as it should be.

In truth, you and I will never “get over it” until God wipes away all our tears in heaven. Without the hope of heaven, our grief knows no end. But when that day does come, there will be no more death, no more pain.

For the Christian, these Scriptures remind us how carefully God regards our grief. And they also remind us of the hope we have for the end of death.

  • “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.”  (Psalm 116:15)
  • “So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” O Death, where is your sting? O Death, where is your victory?” (1 Cor. 15:54,55)
  • “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev. 21:4)

Until then, may the God of all comfort bring peace and comfort to your heart as only He can.

If you are struggling with grief right now, please check out GriefShare.org. You can connect with others who will walk alongside you through this difficult experience. Don’t do it alone!

Note: We talk about dealing with grief and loss, and more in the most recent Dr Carol Show. The three-minute Saturday Memo gives some highlights. And the full archive is available here.

Your Turn: What was the hardest thing about losing your loved one? What helped? What made it harder? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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